Arsenal 7 Blackburn Rovers 1
There haven’t been many opportunities this season to sit back and enjoy the show when watching the Arsenal. Yesterday provided one thanks to as comprehensive a win as we’ve managed in years. So let’s cast off the pessimism for at least a day and focus on the good stuff.
The biggest positive (again) was the performance of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
It’s dangerous to draw conclusions before he’s started even 10 games in an Arsenal shirt but he looks like a very special talent.
As well as his obvious pace and dribbling skill, it’s his awareness, decision-making and determination that have stood out.
His two finishes yesterday showed real maturity and at times, oddly, he reminded me of Wayne Rooney in his style – strong, well balanced and clever with the ball. Thankfully he doesn’t look to share the same personality.
I wasn’t in the mood to listen to Arsene when, after Substitutiongate, he reminded everyone that he was the one who signed the Ox.
But, since I’m feeling positive, now’s my chance to pay tribute to the boss’s willingness to invest heavily in youth when he thinks it’s worth it. If the Ox can reproduce the kind of performances he’s shown so far for months and seasons to come we’ll have quite a player on our hands.
Other positives yesterday included Coquelin who again impressed at right back, Van Persie (who won’t get overshadowed despite scoring a hat-trick very often) and Arteta who played at his Rolls Royce best. Even the goal we conceded wasn’t a bad one.
Rubbish bin bags
For no particular reason, but probably linked to the spurious stories about a bin bag protest and everyone’s continued anger at slipping to seventh in the league, over the last few days I’ve been feeling more sympathetic towards Wenger.
Things aren’t as bleak as our position in the table suggested. The comeback against Villa and decent performance against Bolton in midweek showed Wenger does have a talented squad which has a chance to make the top four if our best players stay fit and everyone shows the desire required.
Yesterday we demonstrated exactly what will be required. The movement off the ball was top class, the second and third goals were two of the best I can recall in recent seasons and we looked focused for the entire 90 minutes.
All of this comes with the huge caveat that it was against a Blackburn team that is rightly threatened by relegation, mired by boardroom weirdness and that played for 10 men for the majority of the match.
But the attitude we showed was refreshingly determined. Had Blackburn even tried to park the bus we would have just smashed in the windows, hacked out the handbrake and pushed it out of the way.